Connecticut’s Union Of GUOOF and Prince Hall

So I was researching something completely different from what I am about to share born-u-truth I can’t pass up the opportunity to share some little known history about New London Connecticut’s #oddfellows and #PrinceHallMasons ! As you may know by now we shared lodges and in many cases served our communities at large…together!
66 Hempstead Street provided employment for members of the surrounding community. Residents initially worked there in the tannery, and later in the cane umbrella and silk factories that took the tannery’s place. During a manufacturing downturn in the early 1880s, the building became the soul of the people
Over a span of one hundred and fifty years, 66 Hempstead Street was a place of joy and celebration, of spiritual growth and of community organization and support.  It was a locus of unity and community for the Black families of New London. There is perhaps no better name for this building than the name it was known by in 1920: the United Society Hall.
the United Society purchased it and, under the leadership of James H. Brown, leased it to two Black fraternal organizations: Thames Lodge #2642, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (G.U.O.O.F), and Jeptha Lodge #11 Prince Hall Affiliated F. & A.M.  Both organizations provided support, fellowship and a gathering place for members who were barred from joining the all white lodges of both the Odd Fellows and the Masons.
#ThamesLodge2642 was founded in 1885, shortly after the end of Reconstruction (1865-1877).  This was the beginning of the #JimCrow era, and there was a clear need for unity and support in the face of rampant racism, bigotry, and discrimination.  #Fraternal organizations like the #GrandUnitedOrderofOddFellows and Jeptha Lodge #11 Prince Hall Affiliated F. & A.M. stepped into the breach.
James H. Brown was listed as the leader of both organizations as  the 1920 City Directory identified 66 Hempstead as the home of the United Society Hall.
Could this be done again ? Possibly…but more importantly will we ever rise above the fray and stand together in the name of community benevolence? I hope so !
Author Emmanuel Page Jr.